Personal and Political Merge in Fall Dance Concert

Pacific University celebrates its 14th season with the opening of the Autumn Choreographers Concert (ACC), Nov. 17-19. Featured in the program are Pacific senior capstone choreographers Taylor Baker and Robert Shoemaker.

Both Baker and Shoemaker have tapped into personal life experiences paired with the daily social, economical, and political influences to develop the body of their dance works, Ignorance is Bliss and Traces of Ink

Originally from Mukilteo, Wash., Taylor Baker grew up training at Allegro Dance Studios. Taylor is a dance major and in her fourth year of dancing in Pacific Dance Ensemble. She currently is a dance instructor at The Independent Dance Project in Milwaukee, Ore., as well as an apprentice for 11: Dance Co. She has worked with choreographers such as Emma Portner, dancer and choreographer for Justin Bieber's "Purpose Tour," and Ching Ching Wong of NW Dance Project in Portland.

This is Robert Shoemaker’s fourth year in the Pacific Dance Ensemble, now presenting his thesis performance at the Autumn Choreographers Concert. He has previously choreographed for the Student Choreographers Concert in 2014 and 2016; and the ACC in 2015. He is also a member of the Portland neo-fusion company 11: Dance Co. Robert has previously trained at Allegro Performing Arts Academy, as well as the British Dancing Academy and South Side Dance Force. He has been featured as Peter in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at British Dancing Academy in 2013.

Also included in the concert are flourishing student choreographers, Jessica Bauder, Brenna Heather Bach, Brenna Calmer, and Karla Cruz, showcasing their diverse styles from Ballet Folklorico to contemporary. Additionally, Artistic Director Jennifer Camp has revived Luminance, an original large ensemble work from 2011. All works will be performed by accomplished student dancers and Pacific’s pre-professional university company Pacific Dance Ensemble (PDE).

In 2004, Jennifer Camp founded Pacific Dance Ensemble, one year after her arrival at Pacific University. Now the company has grown to 20-plus dancers from many diverse dance backgrounds.

“Diverse training creates a balance within the group and aids in the company’s ability to dance classical works, contemporary, musical theatre, African dance, and many others styles," Camp said.

Students take regular dance technique classes and rehearse daily while also managing rigorous academic schedules. Camp has presented dancers from Pacific Dance Ensemble in professional shows and participates in national dance conferences annually. 

The Autumn Choreographers Concert will be held at the Tom Miles Theatre in Warner Hall at Pacific University’s Forest Grove Campus. The show runs Thursday, Nov. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 19, with performances at 7:30 p.m. daily. Tickets are $8 general admission and $5 for students, seniors and alumni. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. Buying tickets in advance is recommended as seating is limited and fills up quickly.

Contact the box office at 503-352-2918. For more information, email

Nov. 10, 2016